In today’s Gospel from Mark we are able to witness the healing of a blind man. Like the healing of the deaf man (cf. Mk 7:31-37), Jesus again uses his own saliva in the healing process showing the intimacy and closeness of each encounter. The difference this time is that this man does not receive a full and complete healing the first time. Jesus laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly (Mk 8:25).
Often with Jesus there are instant healings, as well as healing without touch. What might be happening here? Maybe it is because Jesus meets each person where they are at. He invites us into the process of healing and each person has a different response, even to the point of saying no to the invitation to heal. Remember how Jesus was only able to heal a few people while in his own home town of Nazareth?
Our reading of the two miraculous healings of the deaf and blind men also are to move us deeper than the literal physical healing. Each of us suffer from both spiritual deafness and blindness to some degree. We come to hear and see God’s will for us gradually. As I shared a few days ago, if we knew God’s intention for us early on, we might be crushed with the weight of our own doubt! If someone told me when I was in high school that I would be a teacher or that I would preach to a whole church assembly in English and in Spanish, I would have quietly turned away from them and camped in a stand of white birch across from the old oak tree in the field behind our house for a few days.
Yet, Jesus met me where I was at. Around the time I was a junior in high school, he invited me through an interim pastor to teach Sunday school classes to three boys and about a year later I gave a children’s sermon to the children and the congregation. During my sophomore year of college, I switched my major from psychology to elementary education, and through college I worked second shift as a nursing aid. After graduation, my first teaching position was with the Audubon Society, so I had the comfort of teaching in my natural element of the woods.
Each of these experiences of saying yes to the invitations of Jesus, were like Jesus sharing his saliva on the tongue of the man with the speech impediment and the eyes of the man born blind. Each opportunity, Jesus was inviting me out beyond my comfort zone. My default position today is still more often than not to be silent rather than to speak, but I have come to hear and see God’s will and direction a little clearer. Trust that he has done the same for you and that he is not done with either of us yet!
Photo: Returning to Rosarian Academy to share the commencement address a few years ago.